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​​​​​NEWS: All the latest from SOENECS​


Pioneering Highways Scheme Awarded to Thurrock

SOENECS, GAIST and Thurrock Council have launched an innovative way of using technology to map the roads in the borough and maintain them for road users.

In what is the first of its kind in the country, the trial – worth £183,000 and funded by the Department for Transport – will revolutionise the way potholes and other road defects are identified in Thurrock.

'Pothole-spotter' uses high definition cameras attached to Refuse Collection Vehicles (RCVs) to take quality pictures of roads and pavements in the borough.

The integrated navigation system and intelligent software will build up an image library of Thurrock's highways and help officers 'learn' how to identify problems before they become potholes.

This will reduce the negative impact on road uses while ensuring that council resources are used as effectively as possible – to get the best possible outcomes for local residents.

Dr David Greenfield, founder of SOENECS, said: "RCVs are the only vehicles to regularly traverse local highway networks weekly, and follow the same route each time.

"This makes them the best vehicle to use to monitor the condition of roads, pavements and street furniture, identifying issues before they become problems.

"The ultimate local authority efficiency – one vehicle two roles"

Leader of the Council, Cllr Rob Gledhill, said: "This is an exciting addition to the work already underway as we continue the Clean it, Cut it, Fill it initiative.

"Thurrock was selected as it is recognised by Government as being ready to test innovative new techniques to improve the efficiency of local services, and for which the reliability and quality of its road network is crucial for residents and businesses alike.

"This is the first initiative of its kind - using cutting edge technology and innovation that leads to better road conditions at less cost.

"I am very pleased Thurrock has been chosen by the Department for Transport as a partner in this pioneering project and I look forward to sharing how it worked with colleagues in other local authorities."

Director of Innovation and Research of Gaist, Dr Stephen Remde, said: "This project is really exciting and will capture the highest ever levels of technically advanced data that will provide us with a real insight into how roads deteriorate and defects form such as potholes, surface durability and day to day traffic volume damage.

"Computer vision technology is advancing rapidly and we seek to capitalise on new 'Deep Learning' data analysis techniques we have, to analyse and manage the huge volumes of video and related data that can be used to improve the safety of roads and provide more cost effective repairs."


LWARB publish SOENECS report of International waste recycling rates


Incoming CIWM President Launches SOENECS EU recycling rate harmonisation' report​

In front of over 120 guests at Glasgow City Chambers, the 2015/16 CIWM President Professor Jim Baird was inaugurated today and used the occasion took the opportunity to launch a report into the current framework for measuring recycling ​​across Europe, which shows some significant inconsistencies. 

Commissioned from Social, Environmental & Economics Solutions (SOENECS) Ltd and the University of Brighton, the 'EU recycling rate harmonisation' report explores the impact of the different definitions and methodologies used by EU Member States to calculate their recycling rates. In addition to identifying differences in data capture and the interpretation of definitions across Member States, it also found that the four calculation methodologies set out by the European Commission yield different recycling rates with the same data sets, with an average variance of 8.6% between the highest and lowest. 

Commenting separately on the findings, Jim said:

"CIWM has repeatedly expressed concern about the accuracy and value of comparative recycling statistics and data across Europe, and this report confirms our suspicions. A measurement framework that can deliver this level of variation with the same set of data will simply not be up to the job as we move into the more ambitious territory of the Circular Economy. 

"If the imminent CE package is to posit higher targets, then not only do we need a more consistent and robust calculation and reporting framework, but also a tightening up of the definitions upon which recycling performance calculations are made." 

Report author Dr David Greenfield added:
"This research illustrates how difficult it is to compare recycling statistics across Europe with any degree of accuracy and highlights the opportunity to explore better ways of monitoring to support circular economy principles and reflect the latest advances in waste and resource management practices. Data capture also needs to be more sophisticated and materials rather than tonnage focused." 

A copy of the EU recycling rate harmonisation report can be found [EU Recycling rate harmonisation project​]


SOENECS & BPP LLP author guidance documents for LWARB & LEDNET

​Higher recycling in London means designing waste solutions into new build flats

New guidance has been published today for the capital's planning community to help ensue that new build flats in London are designed with recycling and sustainable waste solutions in mind.  The work, commissioned by the London Waste & Recycling Board (LWARB) and the London Environment Directors' Network (LEDNET), aims to tackle the potentially negative impact on recycling rates caused by growth in the population and subsequent housing stock.

London has a target of recycling or composting 50% of household waste by 2020, a target reflected in the Mayor of London's Municipal Waste Management Strategy.  But approximately 50% of London's residents currently live in flats and this is often seen as a barrier to local authorities meeting recycling targets – particularly as older properties are not always designed to make recycling easy.

London's population is also forecast to grow, needing an additional 1 million homes by 2036.  A large proportion of new build will be medium to high density developments.  This requires a new approach to planning waste and recycling systems in flats – in particular to support separate food waste collections.

A group of industry experts came together in 2014 to develop guidance to tackle the issue. The group, led by LWARB and LEDNET, have created a template policy and waste management strategy which encourages planners and developers to design recycling, food waste and refuse storage and collection systems in new build properties that will genuinely help Londoners to recycle more and manage waste more effectively.

The template policy and waste management strategy can be found on the LWARB website: The work includes:

  • A template waste management strategy for developers to complete at pre-application stage – so they can show that they have considered how waste and recycling will be managed from within the resident's home to disposal;

  • A template waste management policy – to be adopted by all London boroughs;

  • A project report including a review of policy and planning guidance; and

  • Case studies – UK and international examples of good waste management in high rise buildings.

​Hyperlink access to documents:

It is hoped that all London boroughs will adopt the planning policy and ask developers to use the waste management strategy.  This will send a strong message to the development community that designing recycling and waste management solutions can no longer be an afterthought.

"Having received a number of plans for high rise developments with unworkable waste management solutions, we recognised there was a serious problem", says Jamie Blake, Service Head – Public Realm, London Borough of Tower Hamlets and LEDNET project lead.  "With pressure from the EU to increase recycling targets even further in future, local authorities run the risk of missing those targets because new build flats aren't designed to take recycling and waste solutions into account."

He adds: "Housing developments in London should be leading the way, helping the capital to become a sustainable city, not making it more difficult to do the right thing.  A proper solution needs to be designed in at the front end."

LWARB's Chief Operating Officer, Wayne Hubbard, hopes that this new guidance will help spread the message that developers need to engage with local authorities up front.

"We want the development and building community to consider waste and recycling as a utility", he suggests.  "Boroughs are under increasing pressure to separate out waste for recycling which often cannot be managed in existing flats due to storage issues.

"Higher levels of recycling will not be achieved if collections from flats do not improve.  This guidance is a great starting point for London's planners and developers; it should help them design sustainable waste solutions that are easy for residents to use and helpful to those collecting their rubbish and recycling."

Notes to editors

  • The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), chaired by Richard Tracey, Assembly Member, working in conjunction with the Mayor of London and London Councils, has a remit to improve waste management in the capital.  For more information on LWARB visit

  • The London Environment Directors' Network (LEDNET) is the membership association for London's Environment Directors, with representation from the GLA and London Councils. It provides a forum for Environment Directors to share learning and best practice and develop thinking on emerging policy. A London Environment Director acts as chair and deputy chair on a rotating basis. Find out more at

  • SOcial, ENvironmental & EConomics Solutions (SOENECS) Ltd provide strategic advice and consultancy to the public and private sectors. SOENECS specialise in the fields of waste management, resource management, circular economy, procurement, renewable deployment, carbon management and partnership delivery. Find out more at

  • BPP Consulting LLP is an alliance of waste and environmental planning practitioners. BPP support the public and private sectors in planning for waste management by filling gaps in skills and capacity and by providing critical friend support, staff mentoring and expert interventions. Find out more:



UCL Energy Institute / EDGE EU referendum Lecture 15th June 2016

Environmental & Climate change consequences for the built environment - Dr David Greenfield

Event write up:
Video of Lecture by Dr David Greenfield - 1.07.40